Event Recap: Independent Business Forum on COVID-19 – Economic Outlook Edition – Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021

Utah small businesses have spent much of the past ten months scrambling to adapt to extraordinary circumstances. While the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet won, with a vaccine becoming more widely available, we’re setting our hopes for a good year of economic recovery for Utah. 2021 will be the year of transition. As business owners, what should we expect and plan for?

At UIBC’s February 25, 2021 event we heard economic insights from Natalie Gochnour, Associate Dean David Eccles School of Business & Chief Economist for the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce.  We also heard from  Brad Baldwin, President & CEO of First Utah Bank, who presented information and fielded questions about the availability of funding through SBA and other institutions.


Natalie GochnourNatalie Gochnour, Associate Dean David Eccles School of Business

Natalie Gochnour serves as an associate dean in the David Eccles School of Business and director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. She also serves as the chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber. In these roles she helps connect the Eccles School with the broader business community and shares applied economic and business research.

Gochnour’s experience includes a diverse mix of public service and business experience. From 2006 to 2013 she guided the public policy work of the Salt Lake Chamber, Utah’s largest business association, representing 7,700 member businesses. She helped create and lead the Downtown Rising movement, helped pass a ballot initiative to secure funds for the expansion of Utah’s TRAX light rail and FrontRunner commuter rail service, and assisted with the drafting and promotion of The Utah Compact.

During Gochnour’s state service she advised Utah governors Bangerter, Leavitt and Walker, and served as the media spokesperson for the governor’s office during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. She also served as a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration, serving as an associate administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a deputy to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2012, Gochnour was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award for business from the YWCA Salt Lake City. She has also been honored by Wasatch Women magazine as the “Wasatch Women of the Year,” an honor bestowed to women in the community who elevate the stature of women and serve the community good.

Gochnour serves on the Utah Department of Transportation Commission, Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, Dominion Energy (Western), World Trade Center Utah, O.C. Tanner, and Primary Children’s Hospital Boards. She is vice-chair of Envision Utah, one of the nation’s most successful quality growth partnerships.

Gochnour is a sought after public speaker with the unique ability to translate policy-speak into everyday language. A native Utahn, her professional focus and passion are public policies that promote balance, civility and prosperity. She shares her views in regular columns in both Utah Business magazine and the Deseret News. She is also a co-host of KCPW’s (Salt Lake City’s public radio station) award-winning program, Both Sides of the Aisle, where she represents the political middle.

Gochnour has both an undergraduate and master’s degree in economics from the University of Utah. She teaches Public Finance for the Economics Department and serves on the Dean’s Team in the David Eccles School of Business.

When she is not working, you can find her cycling along the Jordan River Parkway, spending time with her two children and son-in-law, or up on the slopes skiing with her husband of 34 years.

Brad BaldwinBrad Baldwin, President and CEO at First Utah Bank

Brad Baldwin is President and CEO of First Utah Bank, a full service commercial bank (firstutahbank.com). First Utah Bank specializes in commercial loans and lines of credit, SBA and USDA lending, construction, equipment leasing, and treasury management services. Brad was previously President of Bank One, Utah, prior to its acquisition by JP Morgan Chase. Baldwin is an Utah licensed attorney with experience in banking, financial services and real estate and represented financial institutions, corporations, and real estate owners and developers. Baldwin serves on the Utah State Board of Financial Institutions and the Utah Bankers Association. He is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Community Bank Advisory Council and a member of the Utah State Bar.

Baldwin has experience in Commercial Real Estate and was the agent in complex investment transactions. He represented a Utah real estate multiple listing service with 12,000 Realtor members. He has served as an expert witness in banking and real estate cases.

He has been on the board of numerous public, private, and civic organizations, including the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Ballet West, Economic Development Corporation, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Salt Lake, Pioneer Theatre, the Salt Lake Country Club, and The First Tee of Utah.

Specialties: Banking, Law, Real Estate, Business Management and Corporate Governance. Experience in HR management, leadership, strategic planning, budgeting, compliance with laws, policies and procedures, and written and oral communications.